Thanks, Dad!

I DO NOT know how or where to start…perhaps in a simple thanks dad.

Thank you for all the love and discipline that I got from you otherwise I won’t be successfully accomplishing the tasks that I set to do in my life.

Thank you for your time and patience and despite my failure to realize it at the time, I now knew that what you did and all the sacrifices that you made were expressions of love.

There were times when I was a teenager that I felt uncomfortable in your presence not because you are not welcome but simply because I want to be on my own…I want to proudly spread my wings not knowing that I was too young then.

Lucky for me you and my late mother were there to tame my wild instincts.

Now that I am a father too, I am feeling what you felt as you watch me grow. I am feeling your concern and inner most fears, I am feeling the heavy responsibility that you carried on your shoulder.

It is like you are in me and to a certain degree yes…you are in me for I am your son.

I am sorry I was not able to tell you these but I know deep inside you knew.

I am sorry I was not there when your time came.

I am sorry I was late but I know you will understand for your love and understanding are unconditional.

Thank you dad….I owe you and mom everything.

May the Supreme Architect of the Universe take your soul in his bosom. Rest in Peace.

Again many thanks, Dad.

* * *
I recently lost my father Bartolome after his will to live left him as he succumbed to old age.

He was 80 years old.

He lived a full life and rather being sad I was sort of relieved that he is now in a much better place together with my mother who passed away in January 1995.

My father was a product of his age, a time when Filipinos are fiercely pro-American, and his political views, which most of the time contradicts mine, mirror that pro-American sentiment of his generation.

Nevertheless, there were common grounds in us – like we both want to serve the poor deprived and the oppressed – that I later realized we were never really that politically apart.

It is like he would say the glass is half empty while I would quipped it is half full…we are actually talking about the same thing albeit from different perspectives.

He was a leader of some sort to his peers and his views were always taken by them into consideration.

He was generous to his friends and strangers but kind a stingy and unforgiving to those whom he dislike.

Based on what I learned from his co-workers, my father, who worked for the National Irrigation Administration, usually fights for the underdog and got into some actual fistfights because of his passionate defense of his co-employees.
Aunt Norma, my father’s younger sister, told me that that behavior was typical of my father.

She said my father is courageous to a fault and would go into great length to prove and press his point.

“Buo lagi ang loob ng tatay mo,” my aunt would usually say whenever she recalled how my father pro-tected her from “unsavory characters” when she was still a young lass in the 1940’s.
Perhaps this youthful experience of him was the reason why he would usually tell me when I was in high school not to be involved with gangs (barkadas) and fights.

He is of the belief that it is better to run away from trouble and survive than fight and be killed in a senseless rumble or street brawl.

* * *

My father is of the belief that it is better to run away from trouble and survive than fight and be killed in a senseless rumble or street brawl.

My father spoke the truth for I have seen some of my “gung ho” batch mates in school who were killed in a dark alley in Sampaloc or along a school building corridor in Morayta Street stabbed by some hooligans.

Yes, they were tough but they were dead.

Aside from the defense of the defenseless, my father’s other passion is mu-sic and ice cold cerveza (San Miguel Pale Pilsen).

He loved listening to Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole and the others crooners of his generation.

He also listened to the likes of Ruben Tagalog, Ric Manrique Jr., Larry Miranda, Darius Razon, Pilita Corrales or Diomedes Maturan. I remember that whenever he entertained visitors, he would serve SMB (of course that is with pulutan of whatever we have in the pantry) and then he would play the cassette recordings of these crooners and sometimes sing along with them with gusto (wala pa kasing karaoke noon).

Surprisingly he does not smoke. They would then discuss their work or the good times they have when they were still young.

By the time he died (April 11, 2011), almost all of his peers are gone and except for me, I am a unico hijo, no relatives (they were all aging or sick here in the US of A), were able to make it
to his wake.

Anyway my friends and “loyalist” were able to fill the seats that were supposed to be for them.

* * *

I thank my brethren from Solidarity Lodge 1457 and of course my very own Reagan Lodge 1037 for the support they gave me that enabled me to fly home and attend to my father’s funeral.

I also thank my Masonic Brother Rev. Isaias Ginson whose help and moral support were indispensable.
Thanks too to Mr. and Mrs. Dante and Dedette Santiago.

I also thank Mr. Nelson Enriquez whose generosity allowed me to fulfill the unenviable task of burying my father.

I thank Mr. Ricardo Pa-nelo, my bond brother, and Joel Zurbano, my godson, for all their efforts to make my stay in the Philippines comfortable as much as possible. Many thanks, too, to the following Dr. Joselito De Guzman, Jerry Yap, Jorge Briones, Eddie Gabriel, Ramon Gargantos, Fre-derick Florentino, Winston Tugas, Marco Ganancial, Edwin Formantes, Jing Farinas, Roy Tolentino, Gerry Lirio, Ed Perpena, Domingo Ganuelas, Carlito Gutilban, Jimmy Mendoza, Gerry Abaya, Alex Ching, Jing Villamente, Boy Celario, Reynante Maraon, Cris Jumadas, Ferdie Gonzales, Ms. Marivic Aquino, Grace Zurbano, Aileen Garcia, Del Mendoza, Angel Austria, Elaine Garchitorena, Ester Sampaga and her family; Roselle Cayabyab, Tess Gabriel, and Andrea Echavez.

I also thank Worshipful Master and Brothers Doug Brown, Bill Fortney, Don Wunsche, all from Reagan Lodge; Weldon Hofilena, Steve Saulog, Ed Gonzales and of course Worshipful Master Fred Tecson of the Filipino led Solidarity Lodge.

Many thanks too to Ed-ward Gallardo, Jojie and Hementera, Mao Pagaliluan, Lil Aala, Romy Mariano, John Gilbuena, Jaime Pilapil, Mayor Mel Mathay, Chair-man Benjamin Abalos Sr., Gen. and Kuyang Sonny Gu-tierrez, Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Ambassador Ed Malaya.

Kung may nakalimutan po…at alam kong marami kayo…pagpasensiyahan na lang po ninyo ako.

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